Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    The only ones who would defend Mr. Lampert are those who would admire a person's cunning in ruining a business and negatively impacting so many employees, all for his own benefit. Lampert can't be the "worst" because that would imply that he didn't know what he was doing. But he did know.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    It is interesting that these innovations are undertaken by a relatively small and maybe independent convenience chain. Choice Market's owners appear to be trying to cut a bigger slice of the market pie for themselves simply by leapfrogging the technology and offerings of well-established national chains. Maybe by so doing, they can establish themselves as the influencer for an entire segment of the retail industry. It may be ahead of its time or right on time! It will be interesting to watch this one.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    The stores are in dire need of upgrading. Much of the heretofore loyal base of customers has gone elsewhere to shop. How can a new Sears secure the funding necessary to renovate stores and pay people well enough to stick around a sinking ship? All too iffy to bet in their favor.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    Cannabis-infused anything is likely to be stocked in grocery stores if it is legal in that state, if the state doesn't impose dumb restrictions as to where these items can be sold, and if the retailer doesn't have corporate or religious reasons for not selling it. whether it takes five, or four or six years will vary by state.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Is Amazon on the right path to improved product discovery with Scout?

    In the case of Amazon, the answer is simple. If Amazon Scout misses the mark with consumers, Amazon will either throw money at fixing it if it is fixable, or will scrap it in favor of some future equivalent. They have the money, they can spend a small part of it on testing.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Would biometric feedback shopping carts creep out Walmart’s customers?

    What next? Tell me when I need to take a shower?
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Re:Store concept mixes co-work and co-retail

    Is this the beginning of a department store concept repackaged?
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Is disruption coming to the alcohol beverage business?

    It probably will collapse. However, the current growers, distillers and brewers may go on the acquisition trail of distributors in order to bring that expertise home expediently. The result should be lower retail prices and few people out of work (but with the same number of drinkers).
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Best Buy’s golden years strategy deliver long-term success?

    Marginally! Although the senior sector is large, it is difficult to say what percentage of that population segment is interested enough to want to be helped, which portion doesn't need any help and which portion doesn't want to be helped. On a long-term basis it's a good strategy but, based on acceptance, the impact on sales is going to be minimal.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Will foodie culture save the mall?

    Farmers markets, food halls, and grocery are components of the total concept of a town center - which we have discussed before - and as such, they will have their impact on the revival of the mall concept but certainly will not be the only factor in their comeback.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Gap sends its Visa cardholders to Amazon and Target

    This is confusing to me. There must be a bigger benefit to Gap in charging the interest to the cardholders than the loss of giving back incentives plus the possibility of sending them to buy competitors' products on and Maybe the parameters of the qualifying purchases are so restricted that Gap is not giving up that much but it looks good from the PR side. Someone please explain it to me!
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Giant Food expects big things from a new, mini-grocery store concept

    The concept has a reasonable chance for success. The idea of endless aisle in grocery is questionable. When people go to markets now, they "need it now." In addition to which home delivery in crowded urban markets is neither easy nor cheap to do.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    Hear! Hear!
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    Maybe it's because of my background, but it is not the realm of retailers to engage in these campaigns. It is the realm of civic organizations. Born and raised in a country in which voting is mandatory, I see the apathy among eligible voters in the U.S. appalling. In the U.S., voting is seen as a "right" (lucky are we) where, in my view, it is both a privilege of which to be taken advantage and a responsibility not to be shunned. That's my get-out-and-vote campaign.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Trader Joe’s success is a matter of values

    My take is #2, then #3 and #4 together. People seem to like the products, the no-hassle returns and knowledgeable and helpful staff who will drop whatever they are doing and walk you right to the item if you ask for something. Getting the culture down to the lowest levels of the organization (the stores) is the biggest challenge retailers have. It reminds me of the success of Starbucks. They drink their own Kool-Aid also (and I don't even drink their coffee).

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